I know that yesterday was boxing day and most of us were tempted to go out braving the malls and buy things that we didn’t get for Christmas. I prefer to sit at home on my laptop and shop online. Because I am on my spending freeze, and want to save money instead of blowing it online shopping, I decided to sit this online sale season out. For the record this is also the first year that I don’t really need anything for myself, but my lovely mother has given me a list of things for upcoming birthdays that she wants to buy now.
By the way, Boxing day sales are a great time to buy gift for friends and family that you will see later on. For example- my uncle and his kids live in Michigan and come up for New Years, so my mother always buys their gifts after Christmas. She save a ton of money doing that.
Side note: I wish I was as prepared as she is. She normally gets all the birthday presents for the next 4 months on boxing day.
So if you are thinking about shopping online and ways to save money, here are a few tips :
1. Have a list.
I can’t stress this enough. Always have a list of things that you need and make sure is readily available. I keep my lists on my Macbook, IPAD, and my Blackberry. I also give a copy of the list to my mom and my sisters, just in case they see something and want to call my attention to it. My sisters both do this now and we have a family list created as well this year.
2. Set a budget.
Know what your spending limit and cut yourself off after that. You can do this either by having a tally on your computer with your total or with a pen and a piece of paper. Make sure your budget is reasonable and hold yourself accountable. In the early days, I had my best friend hold me accountable when we went shopping. I would tell her my max and she would literally take my wallet away when I reached my max.
The beauty of online shopping is that you can check out multiple retailers as once. When you find an item that you want at a slightly lower price, check to see if the competetion has a price match plus discount policy. This is how you save more. For example- I found the camera that I wanted on sale at Best Buy for 189.99 and the same camera at 249.99 at a different retailer. I went to the second retailer with a link to the ad, and asked for a price match. This particular retailer also gives back 10% of the difference thus my camera ended up being 183.99 and I didn’t have to drive as far to get it.
3. Sign up for store newsletters.
Old Navy is one of my favorite retailers for their online discounts, and I always check their emails for make sure I didn’t miss anything. The key to this to create a new email address so you main account does not get spammed.
4. Check in with daily deal sites.
Sometimes you get lucky and find exactly want at a heavily discounted rate. The key here is to look at the fine print to make sure that there aren’t any loopholes.
5. Search for online coupons.
I am a big fan of buying tickets online as I know I can save money doing so. I refuse to pay full price for theatre tickets because I know that there always discount codes floating around. Sometimes you have to try a few codes to find one that works but a simple google search for the city +the show’s name+ discount code brings up quite a few options. Do your research and save your money.
You can also take advantage of big deal days such as Black Friday discounts or New Year sales.
6. Check the discount/sale section.
All of the Christmas items go on sale as for Dec 27th, thus you can find huge markdowns on items that will keep till next year. I stock up on Christmas cards, wrapping paper etc around this time. All retail websites have a clearance or sale section- thats where you should head first.
I like to think that online shopping is an art form and if done correctly it will always save you money.
What are you picking up this sale season? What are some of your tips for saving money online?